It’s been a long time since I’ve hidden dirty dishes in the garage. At least 15 years. Last time I did it I was 23 years old, living in Colorado, and still doing dishes once a week. I stuck a HUGE dirty roasting pan from cooking a turkey in the garage in Dec, carcass and all. I found it in May, complete with maggots. Twenty-three is a prime age for adulting all wrong. Never under estimate the power of your frontal lobe (which matures when you are 24).
But today warranted a little self-induced grace on my part, and I was darn sure gonna give it to me. See, it all started with a batch of free roosters on Craigslist (most of my stories that don’t include the kids begin on Craigslist). A guy in the next county over needed someone to take his 4 (freakishly LOUD) roosters, for free, and didn’t care if you ate ’em. Well, in my ever snowballing quest to be a cowgirl-homesteading-agriculturewarrior- provider, I stepped forward and volunteered. This is free dinner for a week, almost.
So off I went last night, following a man recovering from a broken foot, over to his chicken coop in the dark to try to snag these wild-as-banchees roosters while they slept. It was in a neighborhood, and I felt plenty safe. The roosters, however, did not. One managed to fight it’s way out of my over-confidant hands, and leave the chicken corral. This plan malfunction caused me and Busted Foot to go scampering around in the dark, or wet grass, in the rain, while the remaining three prisoners screamed from my dog carrier. We never did find him.
I tucked my prisoners into my garage and made sure their cage was covered with a cloth to ensure total darkness, and NO CROWING before morning! It didn’t matter. A poorly timed rooster alarm went off at 4:30am this morning, requiring a MUCH earlier than intended session of dispatching roosters for freezer camp. If you crow, you gotta go! I was NOT a happy camper. It was pure darkness outside, and we’ll just not talk about the cold. But I live in the suburbs, and can’t afford unhappy neighbors.
By the time I finished up the last bird, did the morning chores for the hens and rabbits, and stored the fresh meat, the kids were getting up. I made pancakes like a champion, gave full attention to each happy child, and prided myself on all I’d accomplished before 7:30am. Almost like a real farmer. Almost. My extended dairy raising family members do this every day, and I can not even fathom it.
After the family left, I had 2 hours to shower, make my house presentable, set the table for lunch, and find my 4-H paperwork for a fellow 4-H mom who was coming over to brainstorm. See, there was a turning over of volunteers, and 4-H Mom (let’s call her 4HM) and I were asked to co-ordinate planning the meetings all year. Apart, we were frightened, but we knew if we joined forces it was totally do-able, and probably fun. I really liked this other mom, we’d just never spent any time together.
Post shower, laundry (Did I fail to put that on my list above? That should be on every list I ever make, forever), and a phone call, it was closing in on 10am. I still had to clean up the evidence of chicken culling in the backyard, clean up the evidence of child feeding in the kitchen, and pick up train tracks through out the living room. Did I mention the pile of dishes towering over in the sink, some feathered, some not? Gross. Yep, I know it.
I scurried, but alas, I HAD to wash the dirt trail running through the kitchen off my tile floor. It was simply in bad taste. Though it did fit with my Urban Farmhouse theme quite nicely. This task required me to allow for drying time. Which, of course, I didn’t. Which, naturally, meant I did the rest of my chores in wet socks. Who wouldn’t?
The dish washer was clean, it was the children’s chore. The children were in school. Drat! I would have to do it. But there were still Pillsbury biscuits to bake, to go with the soup Captain Schenanigans crock-potted for us over night. I popped the biscuits into the oven, set the table, and hid half the dirty dishes in the garage. There was just no way to get the clean dishes out (even if I did take the kids out of school, which I should have in hindsight), put them away, and re-fill the dishwasher before 4HM arrived. Now, I know 4HM has seen her share of dirty dishes, I’m sure she even had a few, but she’d never been here before and it looked like every dish we ever used in our entire ten year marriage was piled up past the window sill, threatened to take over our meeting. Butchering dishes are never pretty. So, drastic measures were warranted, just to get us to “normal house dirty”.
So I hustled like a champion, placed my hot biscuits on a cake pedestal to class ’em up (or because in reality I just never have a chance to use this wedding gift), and lit a candle to distract 4HM away from the filth pile, and towards the other side of the room. I dimmed the lights over the stove, turned them up over the table, and shredded cheese. Now I had to wipe down the stove again. Shredded cheese is a much beloved enemy, that way.
Now I have a sibling, who shall remain nameless, who is going the childfree route in life, and has often commented to me about the state of my home, and perhaps why don’t I just do a better job keeping it up. I’m gonna let him live, because I love Jesus.
My 11am meeting wrapped up at 2:24pm, when 4HM had to reluctantly leave and pick up her 4H-er. We had the time of our lives. We laughed and chattered, and confessed (I told her about the dishes in the garage) like old friends. We didn’t accomplish a lick of work until the last hour she was there. And while I knew she could have seen my messy real life, I felt happier sitting in a clean(ish) room, laughing with a new friend.
I told 4HM that next time, I wouldn’t clean. It was just her first visit that she would be considered a guest, and that when I visit her house next, there would be no need for cleaning. We’re past that now. Messes are inevitable, and mine are always worse than yours (unless you are on an episode of hoarders, then you win).